The Narrow Gauge Pathway (a.k.a. Carrabassett River Trail) is a stunningly beautiful 6.6-mile trail along the banks of the Carrabassett River. Its firm, crushed-stone surface is suitable for mountain bike or hybrid tires. The pathway is also popular among hikers and cross-country skiers.
For a solid workout on a gradual but steady uphill climb, start from the Carrabassett town office trailhead. The return trip from the entrance to Sugarloaf USA ski resort is downhill all the way and a joy to ride. The trail is named for a 2-foot-wide narrow gauge line operated by the Kingfield & Dead River Railroad around the turn of the 20th century. Popular throughout Maine, narrow gauge railways were ideal for rough terrain. As logging was the primary industry, most of Sugarloaf's trails echo logging terms.
Picnic tables dot the trail, and in summer you'll find spots to cool your feet or take a dip in the river. Trailside wildflowers bloom in profusion from early spring through fall, while birch, aspen and maples offer splashes of spectacular color during the fall foliage season. Crossing a 400-foot boardwalk over a beaver flowage, you'll reach the Campbell Field trailhead, about 5 miles along the pathway. A great spot to watch for the busy dam builders, the trailhead provides a comfort station, including a restroom and small parking lot.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the trailhead in Carrabassett, drive north on State Route 27, turn right on Carriage Road and cross the bridge. Park at the municipal lot on the left. The signed trailhead is on the road.
To reach the Sugarloaf USA trailhead, head north on Route 27 toward the ski resort. Pass the main entrance on your left and continue 100 feet across a concrete bridge. The trailhead will be on your right. Parking is available in the large lot at the Antigravity Center, just left of the main entrance to Sugarloaf.